Best of China

  • China

Walk the Great Wall and cycle along the Xi'an city walls, explore Beijing's traditional alleys and backstreets known as hutongs, enjoy a performance of shadow puppetry, face the Terracotta Warriors and visit the farming community where they were discovered, learn to cook local specialities at a rural cooking school

Mix the bustle of China’s metropolises with the tranquility of rural life on a 12-day adventure. Explore hidden corners of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Cycle along ancient city walls and learn about Xi’an’s famed terracotta soldiers. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the gorgeous Li River. Along the way, discover how China’s many contrasts make it one of the world’s most intriguing places.

was €2,04912 days from €1,949

(€162.42 per day)

Suitable for
All ages
Trip Code
ACBNG
Travel Style
National Geographic Journeys
Service Level
Upgraded
Physical Grading
2 - Light
Trip Type
Small Group
Group Size
Max 15, Avg 10.
Transport
Private bus, plane, boat, train, bicycle, walking.
Accommodation
Hotels (10 nights), soft-sleeper train (1 night).
Meals
11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
Other
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Chinese Shadow Puppetry, Xi'an National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Tai Chi Class, Yangshuo Hands-On: Central Chinese Cooking Class - Yangshuo, Yangshuo
  • Arrival transfer
  • Visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven
  • View more
    • Visit Beijing's traditional hutongs
    • Excursion to the Great Wall
    • Xi'an Muslim quarter orientation walk
    • Cycle along the Xi'an city walls
    • Terracotta warriors tour
    • Lunch in a local village
    • Li River boat ride
    • Walk through the countryside with village visits
    • Shanghai orientation walk
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Best of China itinerary
  • Day 1Beijing

    Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Enjoy a first taste of Chinese cuisine with a Peking Duck welcome dinner.

    Private Vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

    As group members will arrive at different times there are no arranged activities on Day 1 until our group meeting at 6 pm. You can find meeting details on the notice board in the hotel foyer. An included group dinner will follow the meeting, featuring the local specialty Peking Duck.

    accommodation

    Ping An Fu Hotel

    Meals Included

    • Dinner
  • Day 2Beijing

    Take a walk along the 500-year-old Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Spend time exploring the towers, views, and the magnificent structure of this unique wonder.

    One of the greatest structures ever built, the Great Wall was constructed in stages over 2,000 years. This massive structure stretches 6,000km (3,728 mi) westwards from the sea to western China. The section we visit is called Mutianyu and is one of the best preserved Ming Dynasty sections reachable from Beijing.

    Great Wall Mutianyu Visit

    Climb the rolling hills of Huairou County at Mutianyu, one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall. Enjoy scenic views as the wall winds along mountain ridges, and take brag-worthy photos of the wall from any of the 22 towers.

    Private Vehicle

    It takes approx 2 hr each way to visit the Great Wall.

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    accommodation

    Ping An Fu Hotel

    Optional Activities:

    • Cable Car at Great Wall

      The cable car ride is about 5 minutes ride up to tower 14, from where you may walk to the highest point of Mutianyu Great Wall at Tower 23. The walk from ticket check to tower 10 is about 30 minutes.The cable car ride is a good option if you are hoping to save energy to challenge the Tower 23. Return ticket is recommended as you may spend more time on the wall.

    • Toboggan at Great Wall

      Toboggan Station is at Tower 6. The return ticket include a cable car up to Tower 6 and the Toboggan.

      After your hike on the Great Wall, opt to take a Toboggan ride back down instead of the cable car!

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 3Beijing

    Explore historic Beijing including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. After, take a walk through the hutongs, local backstreet neighbourhoods.

    Today we delve into the history of Beijing, visiting the dramatic Forbidden City and the immense Tiananmen Square. Hear tales of emperors and their concubines, a long crafted culture and rich tradition. Witness how ancient Chinese customs are still valued today, while also blended with modern technology and western influences. Visit the Temple of Heaven and its surrounding grounds, full of locals whiling the hours away practicing water calligraphy and Tai Chi, playing cards, and walking pet crickets, all with the colourful Temple of Heaven in the background. Take a walking tour featuring some of Beijing's traditional alleyways and backstreets known as hutongs.

    Tiananmen Square

    Explore one of the world's largest public squares, home to the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Great Hall of the People.

    Forbidden City Tour

    Our CEO will steer around crowds and help make the most of a visit to the Forbidden City.

    Temple of Heaven

    Explore the stunning Temple of Heaven, which was built during the rule of the Ming dynasty. Learn more about the history and significance of this place, often referred to as the symbol of Beijing.

    Hutong Walk

    Take a walking tour through some of Beijing's traditional alleyways and backstreets (known as hutongs) and get a taste of this magnificent metropolis.

    Private Vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    accommodation

    Ping An Fu Hotel

    Optional Activities:

    • Kung Fu Show - Beijing

      Follow the tale of a young boy on his journey to becoming a kung fu master through six gripping scenes told through traditional Chinese art and live modern dance. (Don’t worry; there are subtitles above the stage). Developed by some of China’s top stage directors and designers, the performance showcases the skills of its talented cast, most of whom are just 17 years old.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast

    Please note that the timing of included activities can change and will be spread out over the course of days 2-4.

  • Day 4Beijing / Xi’an

    Continue to explore Beijing with our local CEO and enjoy some free time on your own. In the evening, catch an overnight train to Xi'an.

    Accommodation this evening will be in Soft Sleeper train cars which have 8-9 compartments per cabin. Each compartment includes 4 beds (two upper and two lower beds) and a sliding door which can be locked. Beds include a quilt, pillow, sheet, and reading lamp with space for luggage in each compartment.

    Basic overnight train (beds)

    Soft sleeper compartments - 4 beds to a compartment with closing doors.

    Experience overnight travel like a local. Sit back and get some well-earned (and likely much-needed) rest en route to your next stop.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 5Xi’an

    Explore Xi'an like the locals with a bike ride along the ancient city walls. Later, visit the Muslim Quarter and local markets and enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at the historic Gao’s Grand Courtyard House. Visit backstage, interacting with the local artists, and enjoying a performance of shadow puppetry.

    Arrive in the ancient Chinese capital and traditional silk road terminus, Xi'an, in the morning. We will be met and transferred to our hotel. After settling in, we will gather for an inner city bike ride along the 14km (9 mi) of ancient city walls.

    In the evening, explore the multicultural feel of the Muslim Quarter with shopping lanes and street-side food stalls selling naan, kebabs, and a fine array of sweets. Opt to try some of the best street food in China – the spicy beef and lamb kebabs are always a favourite.

    Cycling Xi'an City Walls

    Rent a bike and cycle the Xi’an city walls. The walls – built for protection in the Tang Dynasty and expanded in the Ming dynasty –are a great way to absorb local history. Hop off where you like and admire the views as you pedal along the 12m (39 ft) wide wall, which takes about 2 hrs to cycle along.

    Muslim Quarter Orientation Walk

    Enjoy a walk around Xi'an’s Muslim Quarter with our CEO, and be introduced to favourite streets, artists, chefs or food stalls in the quarter. Each CEO offers a unique perspective. Get a better feel for the district and have plenty of time to roam around on your own, shopping and eating along the way.

    Chinese Shadow Puppetry

    Enjoy a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at the historic Gao’s Grand Courtyard House, visiting backstage, interacting with the local artists, and learning about the ancient art of shadow puppetry. Feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, surrounded by 400-year-old Ming Dynasty architecture and artifacts, and enjoy a performance. Then try your own hand at it with a set of shadow figures – a feat not quite as easy as you may expect.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 6Xi’an

    Visit the famed Terracotta Warriors the archaeological wonder built over 2,000 years ago to protect the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Afterwards, visit a Village and enjoy lunch. Opt to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner banquet in the evening.

    Terracotta Warriors Guided Tour

    Take a guided tour of the Terracotta Warriors where more than 8,000 clay soldiers and hundreds of replica horses and chariots stand in three pits. Learn why the Emperor Qin Shihuang commissioned the statues to serve as his army in the afterlife and how they were discovered. Spend a half-day exploring this archaeological wonder.

    Village visit and lunch

    Visit a Village close to where, in 1974, a local farmer digging a well unearthed one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century: the Terracotta Warriors. Explore a bit and enjoy a delicious local lunch.

    Private Vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    Optional Activities:

    • Tang Dynasty Dinner

      Opt to enjoy a Tang Dynasty dinner this evening, sampling a banquet of local cuisine in the true style of an emperor and empress. Dinner will never be the same again.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
  • Day 7Xi’an / Yangshuo

    Fly to Guilin and continue on to China's lush southwest to experience the rural culture and unique limestone karst scenery of the Yangshuo area. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Li River.

    Plane

    Transfer to and from airport included.

    Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.

    Private Vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    Li River Cruise

    Enjoy the Li River cruise, a centrepiece of any trip to northeastern Guangxi Province. Take in breathtaking scenery and a taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis. See gorgeous karst mountains peeking out each river bend, water buffalo patrolling fields, and locals reaping rice paddies. Greet school kids and fishermen as they float by on bamboo rafts. Be sure to bring your camera for this popular water tour.

    accommodation

    Yangshuo Outside Inn

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
    • Dinner
  • Day 8Yangshuo

    Trek through the beautiful countryside, passing through villages and rice and fruit fields. Later, try preparing local cuisine at a cooking school and enjoy the results for dinner.

    Countryside Walk

    Embark on a day of walking, venturing out from Yangshuo into the countryside by the Dragon River area to take in the montage of rural scenes, including small villages surrounded by karst mountains, winding rivers, and stunning scenery.

    Private Vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    Central Chinese Cooking Class - Yangshuo

    Calling all foodies! Get an inside look at real Chinese food with a tour of the Yangshuo market to learn about the ingredients used in the Yangshuo area. Afterward, learn to cook Chinese food in a traditional Chinese farmhouse in the beautiful countryside just outside Yangshuo. After the cooking class you can sit down and enjoy the delicious dishes you have prepared.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
    • Dinner
  • Day 9Yangshuo

    Rise early for a private Tai Chi class with a local expert. Later, you'll have an opportunity to wander the shop and cafe-lined streets or relax with a drink.

    Enjoy a free afternoon, which you can choose to spend relaxing. Later on, opt to experience some of Yangshuo's vibrant nightlife.

    Tai Chi Class

    Start the day early with a private Tai Chi class led by a local expert. This weaving together of calming yoga and meditation is practiced by millions daily throughout China and around the world. Learn the basic principles and moves of this ancient practice and start to discover firsthand why Tai Chi is revered for such health benefits as stress relief, improved balance and circulation, and overall well-being.

    free time

    Kick back and relax in scenic Yangshuo before tomorrow's journey to bustling Shanghai.

    Optional Activities:

    • Chinese Language Lesson

      Enjoy a lesson in basic Mandarin and practice what you've learned with the locals.

    • Impressions Light Show (Liu San Jie)

      Take in the Light and Sound Show (Liu San Jie), a 1-hr performance that showcases the ethnic diversity of the region and tells the story of 'Third Sister Liu'. See more than 500 singers and dancers, many of whom are local farmers, perform on and around the beautiful Li River against the backdrop of the incredibly illuminated karst mountains. The show usually takes place at 8pm, and is located at the confluence of the Li and Yulong rivers on the outskirts of Yangshuo.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 10Yangshuo / Shanghai

    Fly to Shanghai and take an orientation walk along the Bund area.

    In a great day of contrasts, you'll awake overlooking the rural countryside and finish the day in the heart of China's bustling metropolis, Shanghai.

    Cosmopolitan Shanghai is a mesmerizing array of old and new, from the 19th century Asian-infused Victorian and early 20th century Art Deco architecture to the bold 21st century futuristic skyline additions.

    Plane

    Private van transfer to airport and private bus from airport to hotel.

    Orientation Walk of the Bund

    Take a stroll along the Bund, a main road that follows the Huangpu River, with our CEO. This is a great opportunity to get a layout of the city and figure out what you want to explore next.

    accommodation

    Golden River View Hotel

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 11Shanghai

    Enjoy free time to explore this vibrant city on your own. Opt to visit Yuyuan Gardens, the Shanghai Museum or this evening catch the famed Shanghai acrobats performance.

    free time

    There's plenty to see and do in Shanghai, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like visiting the Shanghai Museum, wandering around the Yuyuan Gardens, and taking in a traditional Chinese acrobats show. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

    accommodation

    Golden River View Hotel

    Optional Activities:

    • Shanghai Museum

      Visit Shanghai Museum, home to a world-class collection of ancient Chinese art. Tour individual galleries devoted to such items as sculpture, bronze, ceramics, jade, coins, Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture, paintings, and calligraphy. Stop at the gift shop on your way out.

    • Shanghai Acrobatic Performance

      Enjoy a Chinese acrobatic show with tumbling, balancing and plate-spinning. There are amazing contortionists and high-wire walkers— truly not to be missed!

      Transport to the show takes between 30-40min by taxi.

    • Yuyuan Gardens

      Explore this tranquil, 400-year-old, five-acre garden. Climb to the top of the Rockery to see the greenery from above. Check out the Jade Rock and watch the swarms of goldfish swim around in the ponds. With multiple pavilions and halls there’s plenty to see. Depending on when you visit there may be flower shows or tea ceremonies in the area. Opt to visit the bustling bazaar located outside the gardens and hone your bargaining skills.

    • Oriental Pearl Tower

      The Oriental Pearl Tower is an iconic building of Shanghai. Check out the city view from the highest sightseeing level of 350 m!

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
  • Day 12Shanghai

    Depart at any time.

    Departure Day

    Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

    Meals Included

    • Breakfast
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Booking conditions

Adventure Tour prices are subject to terms, conditions and availability.

Only 1 tour can be discounted per passenger per reservation booking. If multiple tours are booked the discount will be applied to the most expensive tour booked.